ARC Review: How to Build a Heart

How to Build a Heart

This book may look unassuming but I’m here to tell you that it will kick you right in your feels. Do not attempt to read this without a box of tissues handy.

This story followed Isabella Crawford, a sixteen year old who has not had an easy life. She, her mother, and younger brother live in a cramped apartment in a not-so-great part of town. This is where they landed after being forced to relocate several, several times. Isabella, aka Izzy, came home one day to find out that her family had been selected for the Habitat for Humanity project and will be receiving a brand new house. This house/agreement came with some conditions which send Izzy into a state of anxiety. While she was grateful, she was also embarrassed at the same time. What would people think of her family having a new house built in the “rich” part of town next to the boy her best friend had a massive crush on?

While that was certainly one huge part of the story, it was not the only serious topic covered: alcohol abuse, physical abuse/violence, and underage drinking. Thankfully the author did not include these serious topics for lip service. She added them as they were intricate to the actual story line. They were all handled with the urgency, delicateness, and grace that was required and I commend Padian for doing so.

Izzy’s character was a relateable one. I felt as if I could have hung out with her in my younger days. She felt developed, flawed, and believable. I was irritated when she did dumb teenage stuff (who wouldn’t?!) and cheering her on when great things happened.

I highly recommend this story to everyone. It was a quick read but a powerful read. This story will not be one I forget anytime soon.

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